* * * *

* * * *
Chapter Six
Coming Together

* * * *

Buffy was startled to see Spike sitting up with his head against the headboard when she returned from the bathroom. “Hey,” she greeted in surprise. His eyes were still closed, but he grunted slightly, confirming that he was awake. Spike licked his lips in an attempt to moisten them.

“Water?” he requested.

“Yeah,” she replied eagerly, returning to the bathroom and grabbing the glass by the sink. She filled it to the top before walking into the bedroom and sitting down on the edge of the bed beside Spike. “Here,” she said, tilting the glass towards his lips. His hand reached up and overlapped hers as he took the glass from her.

“Thanks. I’ve got it.”

He didn’t open his eyes until he’d finished off the entire glass. Buffy smiled and took it from him, setting it down on the nightstand. “We really need to get you to a hospital,” she noted with concern.

“Didn’t really do much for me last time, from what I can remember. We didn’t stay long.”

Spike let out a heavy cough that he’d been holding in while he spoke.

“I figure it’s better to try,” she said.

He nodded in agreement before closing his eyes and drifting off again. Buffy hated leaving the room, but Giles was only a few doors away. She asked him to drive her and Spike to the nearest hospital, even if it meant venturing back to L.A. Giles dressed quickly and followed her back to 203.

“Where are you going?” asked Dawn, walking out of her room fully dressed. “Are you taking Spike to the hospital?”

“Yes. You stay here with the others.”

Dawn scoffed. “No way, I’m coming with you.”

Buffy sighed. “Dawn, we can’t all come.”

“I’m small, I can squeeze in. Besides, who else is coming?”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Fine. Bring everyone. Maybe we take some gas from the rental and put it into the other car.”


* * * *

“Here,” said Kennedy, handing Illyria a red t-shirt and some black slacks. “You might want to change out of that… thing.”

“Change?” Illyria looked down at her leather garment, and when her eyes returned to Kennedy’s it had vanished.

“Oh my god!” Kennedy exclaimed, shocked to see the woman suddenly nude before her. She was awfully… blue. “Wow, um,” she said nervously, glad that Dawn had left to find Giles and that Willow was still in the bathroom. “Wow. Yeah. H-Here you go,” she said, handing her the clothes. She turned away and couldn’t help but smile. “I’ve got, um, some shoes you could borrow. Although they’re my only other pair. You should…”

Kennedy was once again surprised to see Illyria standing there, fully clothed despite the fact that the shirt and slacks she’d given her lay folded on the bed. Kennedy gaped at her.

“It’s a simple modulation of my form,” Illyria informed her, blanching somewhat as she remembered the last person she'd spoken those words to.

Willow walked out of the bathroom with her toothbrush hanging out of her mouth. She took in Illyria's seemingly normal presence and Kennedy’s awed face. “You OK?”


* * * *

Everyone checked out of their rooms and put their bags in the trunks of the two cars. Willow approached Buffy before they set off. “Hey, what are we going to do about Angel?”

Buffy closed her eyes. “Oh god, I forgot all about that. I’m horrible.”

“No, sweetie, we understand. We just… we don’t know what to do. I mean, if his son’s in trouble and he can’t do anything about it, what do we do? Should I do another locator spell?”

Buffy wondered why she even asked, when just a few days before she had all the initiative she needed. The guilty look on Willow’s face was answer enough. “Yeah. I guess we’ll see what we can do after we get Spike to the hospital. Once you find Angel, stay with Spike. I need someone with some firepower to protect him if anything comes after him.”

Willow nodded. “Will do. And Buff?”

“Yeah?” She paused as she opened the car door.

“It’ll be OK.”

Buffy smiled. “Thanks.”


* * * *

“C’mon, Connor. It’ll be OK. Just…”

“I’m fine, Dad.” Connor winced as he pulled an arrow from his shoulder. “You stay in here. I’ll fight them.”

“No way,” said Angel, firmly placing a hand on his son’s uninjured shoulder. “You’re not fighting them alone.”

You can’t. The sun’s up, you’ll die.”

“Yes, but you can’t take them alone.”

“Do you want to just stay in here and let them kill us?”

Angel realized there was nothing he could do. “No.”

“I can take them,” Connor said with determination. “Now let me go.”

Reluctantly, Angel removed his hand and Connor charged after the men. Angel instantly regretted his decision as he watched them attack.

“What have I done?”


* * * *

"Oh my god,” said Buffy, looking down at all of the forms the assistant had given her to fill out. “What am I supposed to do about insurance? We can’t possibly pay for this.”

“Oh, let me do that,” said Willow, taking the clipboard from her. Buffy stared at her, wide-eyed, as Willow filled out the information. “William Rosenberg?

“Yeah,” said Willow as she continued to write. “See, I kind of panicked when we first took him to the hospital, so I put my name down.”

“Is he supposed to be your husband or something?” Buffy asked, slightly amused.

Willow laughed. “God, no. See, last night I got online and…” she looked up, a hint of shame in her eyes, “did some hacking into my insurance company’s database. It now turns out that I have a cousin named William who is fully ensured.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

Willow’s triumphant face melted into insecurity. “Well, yeah. But hey, what exactly are we supposed to do? Look up coverage for the formerly undead? This is the best shot we’ve got. Besides, now that he’s human, we’re going to have to lie about more than insurance.”

Buffy sighed and twitched in her seat, her eyes on the emergency room doors. “I want to know what’s going on.”

“They’ll take care of him, Buffy,” said Dawn, handing her sister a cup of warm coffee and sitting down with her legs folded beneath her. “He was looking a lot better than he did last night. H-How was he?” she asked softly.

“Um…” Buffy wasn’t sure she wanted to share. “It was really hard. But he’s here now, and you’re right. He should be fine.”

“What about Angel?” Xander asked, sitting as far away from Illyria as the small waiting room would allow. “What are we going to do about him?”

Buffy turned to Willow. “When can you work on that locator spell?”

“In just a sec,” Willow replied, hastily scribbling down the last bits of information on the clipboard. She stood and walked to the nurse’s station and gave the woman the information. “One crisis at a time,” she told her friends. Willow grabbed her bag by the chair and she, Buffy and Kennedy headed towards the ladies’ bathroom.

“Dawn, stay here in case we hear something?”

Dawn nodded, and Buffy sighed with relief. She didn’t want her sister in on the Angel situation. It sounded dangerous, and they already had enough on their plates already.

Buffy locked the door behind them and stood with her arms crossed as she watched Kennedy help Willow prepare for the spell.

“No no,” corrected Willow. “Put that over there.”

“Oh, is it the same for vampires, too?” Kennedy asked.

“I’m not doing a locator spell on Angel. I’m doing one on Connor.”

“Right,” Kennedy replied as she lit a match. “I still don’t understand how he’s human when he had two vamps for parents. More than that, how could two vamps be parents?”

“Once you realize that nothing in this world makes sense, you’ll be less confused.”

Buffy smiled. Willow – always one with the wise words.


* * * *

Connor shouted loudly as he charged into another fighter, sending his sword flying. He caught it while it was still in the air and swung it at a man with a mace, disarming him. Connor shoved the sword in his chest. Well, thought Angel as he fought the urge to jump out into the sunlight and protect his son, at least they’re human. Easy to kill.

Connor had taken out seven of the black clad warriors before Angel saw one of the fallen rise from the ground. What the hell?

“Connor, behind you!”

The man flew backwards as Connor kicked him in the chest. “What the hell is happening?” he shouted as more of the fallen rose up and started attacking him.

“They must be zombies,” Angel shouted. “I hate zombies,” he muttered to himself, itching to join in the fray. “Hey, zombie… ninja guys!” he cried out lamely, calling the attention of the three who were just rising from the ground. “Over here!” They started running towards the front door. Angel punched the first one as it came at him and it fell to the ground. He grabbed its sword and glared at the other two. “And now we fight.”


* * * *

“Wow, pretty schnazzy suburban area,” commented Willow once they’d pinpointed Connor’s location.

“OK,” said Buffy. “Let’s go.” They gathered the spell ingredients and returned to the waiting area. “Kennedy? You’re with me. I’ll need another Slayer to back me up. Willow, you’re here.”

“Got it.”

“Giles, stay with Dawn and Andrew. Xander…”

“Yeah?” he said hopefully.

“Come with us. We need to split up evenly.”

Everyone nodded and Buffy’s group moved towards the doorway.

“What about me?” Buffy turned and was startled to see Illyria staring at her, a mere six inches from her face. “I can fight.”

Buffy thought it over. She had been the one to save Spike, and Willow said she’d killed two assassins already. Maybe it was better if she stayed behind to help protect the others. “No,” Buffy said to herself. “You come with us. Let’s just hurry up and get on it.”


* * * *

“Damn it!” Angel cried. He’d grabbed an axe from one of the zombies and started hacking away at them, but that did nothing to faze them. Arms crawled, legs lumbered, and heads rolled towards him. “This is insane!”

Connor ducked another blow from the mace and swiveled around to cut the zombie in half with his sword. Its torso fell to the ground behind its legs, which began kicking madly at him. “No kidding! You OK in there?”

Angel grunted as he was thrown to the wall by a one armed zombie. “Still in one piece.”

The sun was blazing overhead. It was just past noon, they had been fighting for hours. Angel couldn’t believe it – he’d survived a horde of demonic creatures two nights ago, and now he was being beaten down by a pack of… regenerative zombies?

Angel watched as a headless zombie grabbed its head off of the ground and plopped it back on its shoulders. A strange glow radiated from the separated flesh and then the head was fully restored. “Oh, shit!” he cried, realizing that the battle would most likely continue until the sun went down. “Connor, they can regenerate!”

His son responded with a pain-stricken yelp. Angel turned to see him fall to the ground, blood quickly staining his navy shirt.

“Connor? No!” Angel charged towards the door – sunlight be damned. Once he arrived at the threshold he fell back as he was suddenly attacked by a powerful force.

“None of that, big guy,” said a young girl with dark hair as she pulled off of him. “We’ll get him. Don’t go setting yourself on fire just yet.”

Angel looked past her through the doorway and saw Connor being hauled away from the fighting by a man with an eye patch. Was that… Xander? Then he saw Buffy, jumping into the fray with scythe in hand. The scoobies had arrived.

Kennedy helped Angel to his feet and aided him in fighting the zombies – and zombie parts – that posed a danger inside the house.


* * * *

“Connor?” said Xander to the wounded boy as he pulled him into the backseat of the rental. He closed the door behind them and grabbed onto the sword he’d brought with him “That’s your name, right? Can you hear me?”

“Let me go,” the boy sputtered, his eyes unfocused and his bloody hands shaking. “I need to fight.”

Xander shook his head. “No, you need to stay here. Looks like one of them sliced you pretty good.”

There was a deep, diagonal gash running across the boy’s chest and upper abdomen. Xander also noticed a bloody stain on his shoulder where an arrow must’ve hit him. Connor shot him a defiant look as he clenched his jaw. “I’ve had worse.”

“Well, let’s hope we can get everyone out of here before you die.”

“What?” said Connor, a bit of fear creeping into his voice.

Xander shook his head and smiled. “Nothing. You just hang in there, champ.”


* * * *

Dawn jumped to her feet when she saw one of the doctors approaching them.

“How is he? Is he going to be OK?”

She was fourteen again, standing in the hospital next to Buffy. 'You’re mom will be fine,' the doctor lied. 'She’ll be just fine.'

“He’s just come out of surgery,” said the doctor. “We’ve moved him to recovery, and he should wake up in a few hours.”

Everyone stared at him apprehensively, practically on their tiptoes as they waited for what they wanted to here.

“He’s going to be fine. Give it a few days and he’ll be ready to go home.”

“Really?” asked Dawn hopefully.

The doctor nodded and smiled. “He’s lucky. Just a few years ago and it would’ve taken him months to recover.”

“Yes,” Giles replied, his eyes dropping to the floor thoughtfully. “He is a very lucky man.”

Dawn and Andrew both jumped up and down excitedly. Giles was relieved, though still slightly distressed by Spike’s sudden humanity and what it would mean for Buffy. Willow, however, was still stuck on the word “home.”


* * * *

“Angel, c’mon!” Buffy shouted. They’d backed the car up to the edge of the house, where the front door was luckily shaded by a nearby oak tree. “Get in the trunk. We’ve got to get Connor to the hospital!”

Angel darted past zombie arms swinging blindly at him and hopped into the trunk of the car, his head butting into the corner of a suitcase as he landed. Buffy made sure he was in and that nothing had caught fire before closing the trunk and hopping into the back seat. “Drive!” she shouted to Xander, who stepped onto the accelerator.

“How’s he doing?”

Buffy turned towards the trunk to respond to the muffled voice. “He’s alive,” she said, her tone clearly stating that Angel should be grateful. She watched as Connor’s eyelids slowly drooped shut. The boy was awfully pale, but Buffy wondered if that was because of the state his body was in or because he had two vampires for parents. As she gently placed his head in her lap she couldn’t resist examining his features, looking for signs of Angel. She could see the resemblance in the eyes, despite the fact that Connor’s were blue, and it was almost startling. Buffy wasn’t very familiar with his mother’s face, but from what she could remember it was clear that there was more of Darla in him than Angel.

His eyes opened fully, as if he were startled. “Mom?” Connor gasped, reaching towards Buffy’s face. “Is that you?”

Buffy pulled his hand out of the air and returned it to his side. “Shh. It’s OK.” She blinked, suddenly overwhelmed with confusion. Given different circumstances, though equally impossible circumstances, this boy could’ve been her son.

“Er, Illyria?” said Xander cautiously, fearing another sudden attack from the freakishly strong blue girl. The Old One turned her eyes to him sharply. “Seatbelt.”


* * * *

“What happened?” the medic asked as they wheeled Connor through the emergency room doors.

“He was wounded in battle,” answered Illyria.

“I-It was an accident,” Buffy covered, wincing at the medics’ puzzled expressions. “He got cut open pretty bad.”

“Let’s get him to Dr. Daley.”

Buffy put a hand on Illyria’s shoulder to stop her from following Connor into the emergency room. “We stay here.”

Illyria turned to her. “He may need protection.”

“He needs help, which the doctors will give. Just,” Buffy eyed her warily, unsure of how to talk to the demon-woman. “Just stay here with the others.”

She turned to Angel, who was pulling his jacket down from over his head. Luckily it was cloudy out, protecting him from direct sunlight. “Where is he?” he asked desperately.

“They just took him to the ER. He should be fine,” she told him reassuringly.

“He needs mending?”

Buffy turned to Illyria. “What?”

“The boy – he needs mending? He can get that here?”

Buffy nodded.

Illyria cocked her head to the side. “Odd.”

“Buffy!” Dawn squealed, running towards her sister. Her eyes widened when she saw Angel, but she didn’t say anything. “Buffy, Spike’s OK. The doctor said he woke up about five minutes ago.”

“Spike? He’s here?” said Angel.

Buffy looked torn. “Hold on, I’m going to find out if they’ll let me see him.” She turned to Dawn and silently begged her to stay with Angel, and Dawn nodded. Buffy met Angel’s eyes and the looks they exchanged contained mixed emotions – betrayal, doubt, fear, and hope.

Angel watched her go and then turned to Dawn. “Spike’s alive?” he asked pathetically, realizing fully what the signing over the Shanshu had meant.

It’s my destiny.


* * * *

Once they allowed her entrance to his room she walked through the door. Spike was laying on the bed, his eyes on the ceiling.

“Hey,” Buffy greeted him softly as she entered the room.

“Buffy,” he smiled, turning to her. “They fixed me, did you hear?”

She laughed as she stood by the bed. “I heard.”

“I can’ feel anything. It’s amazing,” he slurred. He had the goofiest grin on his face. Buffy couldn’t help but smile despite how nervous she felt.

“The miracle of modern medicine,” she replied, gripping onto the bed railings. Even though he was better, this was still hard. “You’re, um, you’re doctor says you should be good to go in a few days.”

Spike giggled. “You’re so funny,” he laughed, holding onto her hand. “I love you.”

Buffy blinked and pulled her hand away. Spike wasn’t phased. “You get your sleep,” she said uneasily, touching him lightly on the head before turning and walking out the door.

She could hear him chuckling as she left.

“Sleep, that’s funny.”

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